I caught one of my parents using my credit card without my authorization. I checked my credit report and found that four other accounts had been opened in my name without my permission. I am furious.
My first impulse was to seek legal action, but I held back. I come from a Chinese/Filipino family. It is considered a matter of family honor not to disgrace or embarrass one another.
I am torn between reporting it and just taking care of it. But if I take care of it, I am enabling my parent to think that I can just clean up the problem and be okay with it.
I sent a letter asking that the balances be paid off. It was ignored. My other relatives aren't willing to get involved. I love my parent very much, but this isn't right. It has already ruined my chances of having a car or home of my own. What should I do?
Discredited in Rockville
Your parent is guilty of credit card fraud and should be confronted. If you already have, and got nowhere, then treat this like you would any other crime and report the perpetrator to the police. There are legal remedies you can take.
In case you feel you are alone with this problem, I'm sad to say you have a lot of company. It is important that you waste no time in getting this mess straightened out. Please do not for one moment feel guilty about breaching "family honor." That happened when your parent began to fraudulently use your identity.
My youngest daughter, "Patty," recently married. She and her husband have just started college, so I understand that, between being a newlywed and a college freshman, she is very busy. We rarely see them now. The college is only 50 miles away, and you would think they could call occasionally and come home once a month on a weekend. I offered to let Patty call collect or allow me to provide a calling card for her.
She was active in sports in high school and we went to every game. She was also in a drama group and we never missed a performance. So why is Patty now avoiding us? What can we do to get the closeness back that meant so much to her father and me?
Lonesome for My Daughter
You appear to be suffering from a combination of separation anxiety and empty nest syndrome. From your description, your daughter's calendar is, indeed, full -- between being a full-time student and a new wife, with all of the responsibilities that go with it. She might be inclined to stay in touch more if you backed off and stopped pressuring her.
You and your husband have done your job well. Your daughter has been "launched." Now it's time for the both of you to concentrate on your own interests, your own lives and your own marriage. If you do, you'll feel your daughter's absence less and be much happier and more fulfilled.
I am an adult woman who is attracted to men only of other races. I try to date men of my own race, but I can never find enough chemistry with them to have a long-term relationship. Is something psychologically wrong with me?
Lonely in Atlanta
Not from my perspective. "Chemistry" is a complicated thing, and rarely is it rational. However, if this is causing you serious problems, some sessions with a therapist might help you get to the root of it.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate